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Zvezda 1/35 BTR-80A Build Review

By Dave Manter

Date of Review May 2005 Manufacturer Zvezda
Subject BTR-80A Scale 1/35
Kit Number 3560 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros As nice as the DML BTR-80! Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $29.98


The BTR-80 armored personnel carrier began to serve in the Soviet Army during the 1980’s. The BTR-80 has many significant improvements over the BTR-70 series APC. Similar in size to the BTR-70, the BTR-80 is powered by a single 260 hp V-8 diesel engine allowing greater road speed. The roof hatches of the BTR-80 are configured differently than on the BTR-70.

The roof of the troop compartment is elevated to allow better head room. The exit hatch between the second and third axles is designed so that the upper part opens to the front and the lower part folds down to form a step, this way the infantry can dismount more easily. The hull side gun ports are positioned to facilitate better forward firing.

The BTR-80A is the latest development. The vehicle has an improved turret allowing the 30mm main gun to be elevated up to 70 degrees, thus making enemy helicopter engagement easier. The effective firing range has increased to 4000 meters. The BTR-80A has an improved infrared night fighting system allowing accurate engagements up to 900 meters.

The Kit

The kit features 5 trees of parts molded in dark green plastic. The parts are very crisply molded and show very nice detail. Flash is at a minimum. A few parts show slight sink holes but these are easily filled. Closer inspection shows a striking similarity to the Dragon BTR-80 kits. The tires are molded in a very hard black plastic and have decent detail. Also included are decals for 3 vehicles. The instruction sheet is very well done and shows Model Master paint reference numbers. For a look at the kit out of the box, check out the review here on Cybermodeler Online!

The Build

BTR-80A Construction begins with the upper hull and all detail is applied in steps 1 - 5. I replaced all of the grab handles with .030 plastic rod from Evergreen. The kit grab handles are fine but will require a lot of clean up on the seam lines. I also used the Eduard Photo Etch detail set for the Dragon BTR-80 and found the parts fit perfectly.

The Photo Etch set is not really necessary as the kit parts have adequate detail. Steps 6 and 7 adds the detail parts to the lower rear hull. Steps 8 through 13 are the construction of the suspension parts. The front 4 wheels are steer able. Step 14 attaches the wheels and rear hull. Careful dry fitting is required here for the rear hull. Steps 15 through 24 are the construction of the very well detailed main turret. The barrel was replaced with a turned brass one from Model Point. Step 25 is the final construction and I found the upper to lower hull fit to be very good.


The tires were removed and the vehicle received a base coat of Tamiya XF-49 Khaki. The camouflage was applied with Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab and Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black. The tires were coated with a flat coat to kill the shiny black surface. After drying for several hours the tires were put on and the weathering process began. I started with an overall wash of Lamp Black oil paint. This was applied to the entire vehicle. This serves more to even out the paint coat than to accent details. After this dries (about 20 minutes) I apply the pin wash to all raised and recessed detail. I used Van Dyke Brown oil paint for this as I find this gives a nice dirty feel to the vehicle. After drying I applied dry transfer numbers to the hull. Then a light dusting was applied with Tamiya XF-57 Buff heavily thinned (about 80% thinner) with the airbrush to all lower surfaces and over the numbers to tone them down. The final step was to add lots of paint chips. This was done with a small brush and thin paint.



Overall this kit is very nice. The parts are nicely detailed and the fit is great. The extra detail that I added is not really necessary as the kit will build into a great looking kit without it. Highly recommended to any one interested in modern Russian equipment.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!